I’ve spent the last month using a Chromebook as my main computer.
It was hard to send the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook back this week. I have really grown accustom to using it and now my Macbook feels a little awkward. I find myself going for the apps button and it is not there. I have a “Chromebook” within my Macbook that I am using now but that is just the Chrome browser. That brings me to my final thoughts on the Chromebook.
1) It is highly portable
I carried the Chromebook with me everywhere because I knew I wouldn’t have to wait a minute or two for it to boot up. It is exceptionally light and small enough that I would compare its portability to an iPad.
2) I could do (almost) anything on the Chromebook that I could do on a Windows machine
Notice I said “Windows machine”. The Chromebook cannot touch my Macbook for what I do on it but previous to the Macbook I used a Windows machine and with the remote access features that Chrome has I was able to hop in and out of servers and manage the network easier than I could on my Macbook. I am especially fond of the Chrome Remote Desktop app. It uses the full browser and was very fast. I have replaced Parallels on my Macbook with this app because it is faster than Parallels and doesn’t bog down my Macbook like Parallels can.
3) I use Google Docs for everything now!
I have always dabbled in Google Docs but the Chromebook experiment forced me to adopt Google Docs as my main office suite and I love it. I even have my daughter using it full-time now. She had a document freeze up on Microsoft Word and then she lost the entire document. The recovery featured failed and she was stuck writing the paper over again. I used this opportunity to show her Google Docs and what would have happened if the browser had frozen or if her computer died. She was hooked. Using Google Docs is just more practical than using Microsoft Office and more reliable.
The Chromebook doesn’t do everything but no computer really does. I do think that my transition to the Chromebook was easier because I am a “Power User” and I am also a bit more resourceful than the typical user. My daughter is using the $250 Samsung Chromebook in all of her classes (she is in 10th grade) and she loves using it. She has asked if she can use it until the end of year and I don’t see why not. On the other hand, she has allowed a couple of students in her classes to try it out and their reactions have been mixed. One told me that he did not like it at all but he couldn’t play Minecraft on it. Others think it is “cool”. My final thought is that they are right. Google makes cool stuff and that is why the Chromebook will survive and be a success for Google.